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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on January 13, 2010 8:36 PM. The previous post in this blog was Look busy. The next post in this blog is PGE Park sewer issues float to surface. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Basking in the glow of one's own stupidity

Here in Portland, when the bureaucrats screw up, they never admit it. They'll just tell you that what they did is a smashing success. Then they repeat that message over and over until the unemployed barista types and Portland State planning mafia start to repeat it. The chant grows louder and louder, and eventually it becomes the accepted wisdom.

Here's the latest:

As if.

Comments (18)

Don't you just love the attempt at self preservation?

What is even more ironic it is on the back of a number 12 bus, one of the busiest lines in the system which they cut service back by 15%.

Really, something like Klaatu barada nikto or Redrum would be more interesting.

Of course they didn't post that on the inside of any buses, cause no one would ever see it.

"...repeat that message over and over until the unemployed barista types and Portland State planning mafia start to repeat it"

Bingo. Most of Portland's "conventional wisdom" explained in one sentence.

Yeah it's not enough to watch TriMet waste $1/2 million per month running the empty WES commuter rail cars.

They have to spend more on a snow job campaign casting as something worth "celebrating".

Presumably, that ad means they don't have any paying ads for the back of the bus, so it's a double whammy: we're spending revenue we don't have on lines that don't carry anyone.

And the "Powered by biodiesel" sticker is the coup de grace -- someone with a Sharpie should graffiti every one of those to put the per-gallon price of that biodiesel out where people can see it.

Another Portlandian "Kick Me" sign.

TriMet has fully adopted public deceit for public relations.

Technically, WES works. (Most of the time.)

Just ain't nobody riding it.

breathtaking arrogance. Wow.

Why do we allow govt on any level to use our tax dollars on public relations campaigns aimed squarely at... US?!

It's like GW Bush touring the nation on our nickel selling his plan to privatize social security. Why do we PAY our own government to focus propaganda campaigns on us?

Shouldn't we be using propaganda on the Chinese or Iranians or something? Not on us.

"Go out and shop after 9/11."
"Iraq was connected to Al Queda."
"We HAVE to give the banks tens of billions of dollars."

The people barraging us with misinformation WORK FOR US. We're paying them to do it. Very strange....

Under federal law, if a transit agency decides a transit project is a failure and stops running it, it has to return the federal grants back to the feds. So if TriMet admits WES is a failure and quits running it, it would owe the feds at least $59 million. They might consider it to be less expensive to keep running it.

And the "Powered by biodiesel" sticker is the coup de grace -- someone with a Sharpie should graffiti every one of those to put the per-gallon price of that biodiesel out where people can see it.

Remember that TriMet entered a fuel hedge right before the diesel fuel price crash; so TriMet (even before we start talking about BioDiesel) is currently paying $.50-$1.00 more than the spot diesel price up at Jubitz.

Yes: I can buy diesel cheaper than TriMet. And TriMet can purchase fuel tax-exempt.

In addition to WES waste and biodiesel BS, transit agencies everywhere are having to live with the dirty little secret--actually, not so much of a secret anymore--of "hybrid" buses: they cost more to operate than old-fashioned diesel buses. They get slightly better mileage than regular diesel buses, so they are worshiped as GREEN.

I would like to know what the total carbon footprint--manufacture and operation--is of a hybrid bus vs. a regular bus.

@Paul: I haven't heard that story about hybrid buses.

TriMet only has two - yes, TWO - hybrid buses (fleet numbers 2561 and 2562; they have a distinctive hump atop the roof and say "Hybrid Power" on the hump). Vancouver, in contrast, has around 12-14 hybrid buses painted in a gray-and-black scheme and are instantly distinguishable from their regular buses.

What is true is that a hybrid bus does cost more - about 25% more. A standard 40 foot bus costs $300-350,000. A hybrid is about $450,000. However the hybrid bus shines in better fuel economy (about 10-25% better, depending on driving conditions), fewer emissions, and lower maintenance (in particular: less brake wear, a smaller engine, and no transmission).

Seattle's King County Metro studied hybrid buses extensively and is today the largest user of the hybrid bus. Some of their findings:

1. On a 40' bus (a standard transit bus), there is little to no cost benefit of a hybrid bus over the life expectancy of the bus (12-15 years). King County Metro purchased only one such bus and it is currently assigned to Sound Transit.

2. On a 60' bus (articulated bus) there is a positive cost benefit, as the cost differential between the straight-diesel and hybrid bus is now lower ($650,000 versus $750,000 - the hybrid cost is still about $100,000).

3. Hybrid buses get their best benefit in stop-and-go traffic. (Since they need to brake often to recharge the batteries.) Initially KCM tended to assign the Hybrids on freeway express routes, but this practice negated much of the benefit of the hybrids. Still, the buses did have very slightly better fuel economy than the straight-diesel buses, but only by about 5%. KCM has since reassigned buses, and now the hybrids are more frequently found on non-express, local routes - thus increasing fuel economy.

TriMet tends to assign their two hybrid buses to the 8 Jackson Park bus, specifically because of the long down-hill from Pill Hill to downtown. As such, TriMet acknowledges the benefit of the hybrid system in reducing brake wear and maintenance expense on these buses. Having ridden the hybrid buses on a very rare occassion on the 12/94 routes, the buses accelerate much smoother and brake much smoother than a straight-diesel, and thus offer a much better ride than an identical, non-hybrid bus.

I thought you needed a LIVE SHOT before the comments closed.


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